NYC Council Member, Inez Dickens District 9

Inez Dickens

A lifelong resident of the 9th Council District that includes Central Harlem, Morningside Heights, parts of the Upper West Side and part of East Harlem, Inez Dickens is highly respected as a tireless fighter for basic civil and human rights, justice, equity, inclusion and diversity.   She is committed to improving the quality of life for everyone in her community and in the City of New York.  Moreover, for over 30 years beginning as a student activist at the side of her father and mentor, the late Harlem businessman and NYS Assemblyman, Lloyd E. Dickens, Council Member Inez E. Dickens has taken an active role in economic development, small business with a focus on minority and women owned business enterprise, and political landscape of New York’s celebrated village of Harlem.

Ms. Dickens was first elected to office in 1974 as a County Committeewoman, County Judicial Committeewoman and State Committeewoman and eventually rose in party ranks to become the highest-ranking African American woman in the New York State Democratic party serving as the First Vice Chair of the New York State Democratic Committee.  Ms. Dickens stepped down as First Vice Chair when she took the oath of office on January 1, 2006, after winning a hotly contested City Council race.  She became the Council Member for the 9th Council District serving the communities of Central Harlem, Morningside Heights, part of the Upper West Side and East Side.  As a newly elected Council Member, Ms. Dickens hit the ground running after Speaker Christine Quinn appointed her to the leadership position of Majority Whip and Chair of the Standing Committee on Standards and Ethics.  During her tenure in office, Inez  E. Dickens has brought millions of dollars in services and resources to her community, the 9th Council District and to economically distressed communities throughout the City of New York.  She has also fought to make our great city a welcoming port-of-call to all and to build futures of promise for her constituents and all New Yorkers.

Ms. Dickens is a product of the New York City public school system, where she was educated at P.S. 133 and Julia Richmond High School. She did undergraduate studies in real estate and land economics at New York University and later at Howard University.

NY State Senator Adriano Espaillat

Adriano Espaillat Headshot

State Senator Adriano Espaillat’s career in public service has been marked by historic accomplishments and an unwavering commitment to integrity, justice, and equal representation for all.

Following a successful tenure in the New York State Assembly, Espaillat was elected to the Senate in November 2010, where he represents the 31st district. This uniquely diverse and dynamic district stretches from Manhattan’s Upper West Side through Washington Heights and includes Riverdale, Marble Hill, and Hamilton Heights.

A trailblazing community activist, Senator Espaillat made history in 1996 when he became the first Dominican-American elected to a state legislature. Espaillat quickly distinguished himself as a reformer and progressive fighter who stood up for working families and small businesses.

Espaillat worked tirelessly to champion causes that directly helped communities across New York. Along the way he executed some remarkable legislative and policy accomplishments including the following highlights:

  • Successful advocacy on behalf of over 2.5 million NYC tenants during the campaign to extend and strengthen rent regulations.
  • Passage of law cracking down on the sale of dangerous alcoholic beverages to minors.
  • Extension of the J-51 Housing Program, which protected tenant from unfair rent hikes.
  • Passage of legislation supporting over 40,000 livery drivers by extending protections from violent crimes and inclusion of the drivers in the Workers’ Compensation benefits program.
  • Legislation allowing 35,000 daycare providers to organize and collectively bargain, helping empower some of New York’s hardest working men and women and strengthening our middle-class.

Senator Espaillat was chosen by his colleagues to chair the Senate Puerto Rican/Latino Caucus. He is the top ranking Democrat on the Senate Housing Committee and also serves on the Environmental Conservation, Economic Development, Codes, Insurance, and Judiciary committees. Additionally, Governor Andrew Cuomo has selected Senator Espaillat as a member of his Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise team where Senator Espaillat chairs the subcommittee on monitoring and compliance.

Prior to catapulting into the state capitol, Espaillat served his community on a grass-roots level.

From 1994 to 1996, Espaillat served as the Director of Project Right Start, a national initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to combat substance abuse by educating the parents of pre-school children. This pilot program was implemented in six cities throughout the country and in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

From 1992 to 1994, Espaillat served as Director of the Washington Heights Victims Services Community Office. The organization offered bilingual support groups for battered women, and provided relief, compensation, counseling and therapeutic services to families of victims of homicides and other crimes. In 1991, Espaillat was chosen as a member of Governor Mario Cuomo’s Dominican American Advisory Board, where he served for two years.

From 1986 to 1991, Espaillat actively served on Community Planning Board 12 as a member of the Executive Board. Espaillat became a strong voice in the community by organizing tenants and advocating for their rights. He successfully petitioned for greater police services in the community. His tireless efforts resulted in increased foot patrol, block watches, the creation of the new 33rd Police Precinct and other successful crime prevention measures in Northern Manhattan. During the mid 1980’s, Espaillat was elected President of the 34th Precinct Community Council. Throughout the 80’s, he worked closely with the community and law enforcement agencies to help eradicate drugs and crime from Washington Heights and Inwood.

In 1980, Espaillat joined the NYC Criminal Justice Agency, a non-profit agency contracted by the city of New York to provide pre-trial services to the New York Criminal Court system, where he worked as the Manhattan Court Services Coordinator
for eight years. During the 1990’s, Espaillat helped resolve hundreds of conflicts among his constituents by volunteering his services as a state certified conflict resolution mediator for the Washington Heights Inwood Conflict Resolutions and Mediation Center.

Espaillat graduated from Bishop Dubois High School in 1974. In 1978, he earned his B.S. degree in Political Science from Queens College, and later completed postgraduate courses in Public Administration at New York University and the Rutgers University Leadership for Urban Executives Institute.

NYS Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner – Assembly District 77

Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner – Assembly District 77

Assembly  represents the 77th Assembly District, which includes Claremont, Concourse, Highbridge, Mount Eden and Morris Heights sections of the Bronx.A prior member of Community Board 4 and the Neighborhood Advisory Board, Latoya is a Bronx resident. She is also a proud product of the public educational system. Latoya is a graduate of Richard R. Green High School for Teaching and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She participated in Stony Brook’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and benefited from its dedication to grooming African-American and Latino students.

The program focuses on providing students with the necessary tools to succeed in competitive college academic environments. Striving to take the greatest possible advantage of the opportunities EOP made available, Latoya studied abroad in Ghana and participated in various internships. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology, graduated with honors and became a member of Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society and Phi Beta Kappa.Changing her life forever, Latoya interned with the office of then-state Assemblywoman Aurelia Greene, a legendary fixture in Bronx governmental circles who currently serves as Bronx Deputy Borough President. During her internship, Latoya excelled and was recognized for excellence by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Following her internship in the State Capitol, she returned to her roots in the Bronx and was promoted to serve as a community liaison in Mrs. Greene’s district office.

In this capacity, Latoya handled day-to-day constituent concerns, researched legislation, and met with lobbyist groups and community organizations.Latoya went on to study law at the University at Buffalo Law School, where she was an associate editor for the Buffalo Journal of Gender, Law and Social Policy. During her time in law school, Latoya interned with the New York State Division of Human Rights in the Bronx and her responsibilities included investigating housing discrimination claims. She saw firsthand the hardships that many persons with disabilities – particularly those with mental and psychosocial disabilities – face in securing permanent housing. Her extensive experience in protecting the rights of tenants puts Latoya in a unique position when it comes to developing legislation and housing policies that are more equitable for the families living in the 77th Assembly District.A member of the New York State Bar, Latoya will use her legal degree to serve the needs of families throughout the Bronx.

She served as a court attorney for a New York City Civil Court judge. In what has been called the “people’s court”, Latoya used her problem-solving skills to help those appearing in court – many of whom are unrepresented – to reach settlements. She dealt with matters concerning commercial landlord and tenant, premises liability, personal injury, consumer debt, no-fault cases and small claims.Latoya will focus on affordable housing, seniors and education in the 77th Assembly District.

The Honorable Professor Michael John Downie, Chairman, Arts & Culture Committee, Manhattan Community Board 10

Michael Downie

The Honorable Professor Michael John Downie is an Education Consultant specializing in performance improvement and growth strategy through curriculum development and global educational programs.  He served as Assistant Professor of English at Stevens Institute of Technology, where he instituted CAL 103, “The Freshmen Experience”, and was Assistant Professor of English & African American Literature at SUNY Westchester Community College.

In 2003, Prof. Downie founded Renaissance in Motion, a non-profit cultural organization that provides access to Harlem’s diverse artistic and intellectual scene through salons, lectures and concerts held in Harlem with performers as varied as the inimitable Eartha Kitt, Grammy Award Winner Gordon Chambers, Violinist Asmera Woodward Page, and Novelist Brian Keith Jackson.  In 2006, he moderated a discussion for the freshly minted book, “The African Game”, by Nigerian photographer, director and filmmaker, Andrew Dosunmu, and journalist, Knox Robinson, which looks to soccer to explore modern African life, culture, and, most importantly, identity.

In 2007, Prof. Downie was appointed to Manhattan Community Board 10; he is Chair of the Arts & Culture Committee, and serves the Education, Libraries and Youth Committee and the Executive Committee.  While serving the Education Committee, he was one of the first proponents to back the New York French American Charter School – the country’s first.  60% of the students are from Francophone West Africa.  Through the New York City Department of Education, he serves on the Advisory Board for the West End Secondary School for Urban Studies.

Professor Downie was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and has done research in Ghana and at the Royal Archives in London on slavery, in general, and the “razzia”, in particular.  He recently completed a novel about modern day slavery, “Slaves, Moors & me”, and wrote a play entitled “The Merry Wives of Harlem”, a drawing room comedy built on pun and stereotype, and a misunderstanding about identity.

Professor Downie holds a B.S. in Psychology from Tufts University, a M.A. in English & American Literature from New York University, and a Graduate Certificate in African Studies from Yale University.

Professor Downie is the proud father of Sophia.

Pastor Michael A. Walrond, JR. Senior Pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church

Michael A. Walrond, JR

  • Rev. Walrond, who is also affectionately known by the congregation as Pastor Mike, serves as the leader, pastor and teacher to the “ever evolving community of visionaries & dreamers” at First Corinthian Baptist Church.
  • Within two years of his leadership at FCBC, the church experienced a tremendous amount of growth, inevitably necessitating the addition of a second service. Over the past eight years, membership at FCBC has grown from three hundred and fifty disciples to over seven thousand, and has led to the creation of several new ministries and initiatives.
  • Pastor Mike’s vision for discipleship, wholeness, and community wellness has launched vision teams including- HEALED HIV/AIDS Ministry, Social Justice, DTV Drama, Clothing, Celebrate Life Recovery Ministries, and Business and Culinary Arts Vision Teams.
  • The dynamic preaching, teaching and discipleship of Pastor Mike led to the need for additional services: a third worship service on Sundays, and Freestyle Fridays, a service that celebrates the art of improvisation and creativity.
  • Pastor Mike’s foresight and passion for the Harlem community shaped the vision for the FCBC Dream Center, a transformative space designed to awaken the dreams of the community through leadership development, arts enrichment, and economic empowerment.
  • Rev. Walrond currently serves as a board member of the National Action Network, and in 2012, was appointed as the first National Director of the Minister’s Division of the National Action Network by Rev. Al Sharpton.
  • Rev. Walrond also has a strong commitment to public, private, and higher education and currently serves as a Trustee and adjunct faculty member of Chicago Theological Seminary, in Chicago, Illinois.
  • In June 2015, just last month, Rev. Walrond was chosen to spearhead the New York City Clergy Advisory Council by mayor, Bill de Blasio, where he is responsible for maintaining a direct line of communication between religious leaders and City Hall.
  • A native of Freeport, New York, Rev. Walrond did his undergraduate studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Religion.
  • Rev. Walrond has a Master of Divinity degree with a focus in Theology from Duke University School of Divinity where he was the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar.
  • Rev. Walrond served Duke University as the University Minister and Director of the African American Campus Ministry for eight years and as the Senior Pastor of Zion Temple United Church of Christ in Durham, North Carolina for seven years.
  • He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and Morehouse College Alumni Association. In addition to his religious affiliations and community involvement, Rev. Walrond also serves as weekly columnist for the New York Amsterdam News.
  • Rev. Walrond is married to the Rev. Dr. LaKeesha N. Walrond, who serves as the Executive Pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church. They are the proud parents of two beautiful children, Michael III and Jasmyn Dominique.Michael A. Walrond, JR

Mamadi Touré, Ambassador of the Republic of Guinea

  • Mr. Touré previously has held several high-ranking positions within the United Nations. Such as:
  • the Permanent Representative of Guinea to the United Nations;
  • Senior Political Affairs Officer in charge of the Horn of Africa Team in the Department of Political Affairs;
  • Chief of Staff at the United Nations Operations in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI);
  • Senior Political Adviser to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa;
  • Acting Chief of Staff at the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa.
  • From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Touré has served many roles including be not limited to:
  • Political Adviser to the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea;
  • Head of the Regional Office at the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH);

Special Assistant and Head of the Political Unit at the United Nations Political Office for Somalia;

  •  Senior Political Affairs Officer in charge of the West Africa Team in the Department of Political Affairs.

 

Throughout the 1990s, Mr. Touré served as Political Affairs Officer in such areas as disarmament affairs and Africa.

Additionally, he was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

Mr. Touré obtained Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration degrees from the City University of New York.

Born on 11 December 1952 in Kankan, Guinea, Mr. Touré is married, with three children.

Consul General of the Republic of Senegal Elhadji Amadou Ndao

Elhadji Amadou Ndao

His Excellency Mr. Elhadji Amadou Ndao was born and raised in Senegal, West Africa, where he attended primary and secondary school. After graduating high school, he went to the University of Dakar where he, along with other thirty two elite students in the literary track, had the privilege to be of the class that would be the first promotion of the Sociology Department newly opened at the renowned “Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines” at the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar.

A year into it, he had the opportunity to travel to the United States of America in the pursuit of a higher learning. A higher leaning indeed, for beyond obtaining his B.A. in International Relations at the City College of the City University of New York, he had the pleasure to experience the American culture in its fullest sense: The New York City experience.

After graduating from City College Mr. Ndao served for various NGO’s, Action Against Hunger –USA and The Humanist Center for Cultures, in their communications  department before joining the United Nations Secretariat in 2011. At the UN, Mr. Ndao worked in the Department of Management  for two years and then joined the Executive Office of the Secretary General, Every Woman Every Child team in the Strategic Planning Unit.

His Excellency Mr. Elhadji Amadou was appointed Consul General of the Republic of Senegal by Executive Order of His Excellency President Macky Sall on January 7th 2015 and took office on January 30th 2015.